Pickup lines are one way people can try to attract a romantic or sexual prospect. This is a tactic more commonly used by men, but is it also an effective strategy for women? A study published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences suggests that pick-up lines may be effective for women and that extroversion was a large factor in perceived effectiveness.
Flirting is important for finding romantic and sexual relationships and can include a variety of behaviors, verbal and non-verbal cues. There are gender differences in what is most effective, with men ranking attractiveness as number one and women preferring gentleness. Pickup lines are more commonly used by men because women are generally more selective in their partner preferences. As a result, there is a lack of research on the use of pick-up lines by women. This research sought to bridge this gap.
Researcher T. Joel Wade and colleagues recruited 39 men and 57 women who attended a university in the northeastern United States or lived nearby to serve as their sample. Ages ranged from 18 to 96 to include people who were in their post-reproductive years. Participants completed demographic information and a measure of the Big Five personality traits.
Participants were given 10 categories of commonly used female pick-up lines and asked to rate how effective they think they would be for women who use them. The categories were direct asking someone out, indirectly hinting at a date, having things in common, giving phone number, complimenting, asking if the person is single, expressing a personal interest, saying something funny, familiarity, and subtle hello.
The results showed that the most effective pick-up lines for women were direct, then sharing things with each other, then asking for a phone number, then indirectly hinting at a date, then asking if the person is single. Researchers categorized the 10 items into direct, harmless and lighthearted and showed that men believed direct was more effective than women. This is thought to be due to the fact that it is clear and makes the chances of missing a mating opportunity low. The results also emphasize that extroversion is an important variable, as extroverts are bolder and more likely to approach a potential partner.
Steps have been taken in this study to gain insight into the effectiveness of pick-up lines for women. Despite this, it has some limitations. First, this study was based on perceived effectiveness rather than actual effectiveness, which could be less accurate. In addition, this was aimed at heterosexual cisgender people and future research could look further to be more inclusive.
“In the present study, we replicate and extend the current literature regarding the use of pick-up lines by women. Our findings show that males consider females’ use of direct pick-up lines to be the most effective, presumably because there is little scope for wrong intentions or missing out on a potential mating opportunity,” the researchers concluded. “Extraversion, compared to the other Big Five dimensions, is significantly correlated with women’s perception of pick-up lines as effective. However, age has minimal impact on perceptions of effectiveness, but emphasizes the need to understand the onset of interactions between older individuals.”
The study, “The Perceived Effectiveness of Pickup Lines for Women: Do Age and Personality Matter?”, was authored by T. Joel Wade, Maryanne L. Fisher and Lauren Gaines.